Synth Site: Roland: JD 800: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Blackstone Hamilton a professional user from US writes:
This is an update to my previous post about this keyboard where I pretty much trashed it. One thing I have learned since then, is that Roland, being Japanese, do not always provide 3-prong grounded power connectors because this is not as common in Japan as in the US. For instance, the MKS-80 also uses the proprietary 2-prong connector. I had my MKS-80 power supply upgraded to a 3-prong, so I imagine you could outfit the JDs likewise. In all fairness, this is actually quite a nice board with a great degree of quality. It has a simply ROM based OS that is won't bug out on you like some of the newer XP/JP stuff. Since it has 4 "oscillators" per voice, it's actually quite powerful. The one shortcomings I still think is prevalent is the fact that there is only one FX processor, and only a stereo out. If the JD-990, which has 3 FX units, recognizes the JD-800 slider movements, then it would make sense to get a JD-990 AND a JD-800 to control it. I haven't contacted Roland to see if this would actually work or not, but it's a cool idea. JDs are inexpensive enough these days that you could actually afford to do this. What I like about the JD architecture is that it's synth engine is based on single-cycle waveforms rather than megabyte after megabyte of ROM. This forces the user to actually develop sounds. Of course, the ROMplers will let you take a single-cycle as well, but the tendency of users is not to think in these terms. This is a nice compromise between subtractive and playback synthesis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:11
Daryl p a hobbyist user from 0 writes:
The JD-800 is wonderful as long as you don't expect it to be analogue.

It is extremely useful for creating the types of sounds that romplers

(sample playback) do well except you get real time control and the

ability to create and modify the sounds quickly. It's absolutely fantastic

for pads. Sure powerful analogue synths can do some things better, but try

to layer a piano waveform and you'll know why the jd shines. I mostly use

it for strange atmospheres, textures, and pads. And leave the drums to my

sampler, and the ripping analogue filter sweeps to my analogues. It's survived several studio cleanouts and I don't think I'll

sell it. While it's not a replacement for the JP-8000, neither is

the JP-8000 a replacement for it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:11
Neil a part time user from UK writes:
If you don't already own one of these babies, go and get one. Forget Roland's preset patches make your own it's a doddle and its fun. Some people seem to think that anything Roland release with a "J" and an "8" in its name is going to be the new improved Jupiter8, well it isn't a Jupe and its nothing like a Jupe so don't be under any illusion. However it is a great synth in its own right. The only criticism i have is that, it has low polyphony and multi-timbrality (6part) or five if you don't include the drum part, so as a studio synth it does have limitations, (unless of course you are lucky enough to have lots of synths)

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:11
Blackstone a professional user from USA writes:
The appeal of the JD-800 is its wide array of sliders and buttons. While this is welcome, it doesn't really have the application to today's heavily modulated dance music as say the JP-8000. One notible ommision of the JD-800 is an arpeggiator. The keyboard has a nice feel and has channel aftertouch. There is a slider for aftertouch for some of the parameters. This can be use for creating some of the rave sounds prevalant today. For instance, if you are arpeggiating the JD-800 from an external keyboard, you can simply hold the keys down on the remote keyboard so that it's full pressure is activated. Then slide the Aftertouch control and thereby grab both the Filter and Resonance at the same time. This gives a much smoother effect than by using aftertouch alone from the remote keyboard. The sound generation is purely PCM and as such, has a dated D-50 sound (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis). For instance, you can have a Pule waveform, but you cannot modulate the width of the pulse as with analog. Additionally, you cannot sequence one wave to another programmatically. The JD-800 does allow you to turn the Wave Generator knob in realtime, but this means there will be a distinct change in your sound and you can only sequence between adjacent Wave Forms as appear in the JD-800's memory. If you were a careful sound designer, you could use 4 similar waveforms for each of the 4 oscillators and EQ and shape each one differrently. Overall, I think the JD-800 is quite limited and not too impressive. It's has almost no ability to route different sources to different destinations. The unit can be set up multitimbrally, 5 patches and a drum part. The drum part is fake though. They use a Tabla waveform to generate most of the drums with synth waveforms for things like a bass drum. It's all done with enveloping. Incredibly, there is not one snare drum in the whole kit. Also, you can only have one drum kit and only one multitimbral setup! A Matrix 6, while limited in its own way, is still more interesting than this machine. Lastly, the JD-800 does not use the standard 3-prong grounded plug which makes me wonder if Roland really ever considered this to be a professional keyboard. I'm glad I only paid $600 for it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:11
Tracy C'Vello a professional user from U.S. writes:
I am a Music Producer/Sound Designer with tons of gear &amp; still find the JD-800 usefull it is one of the only pieces of gear that i have kept because of it's great tonal presence.Some of my gear consists of JP-8000,JD800,JV-2080,JV-1080,

yamaha A-3000 128 meg Sampler,Akai MPC 300, Nord Lead Rack 1 &amp; 2,ensoniq MR-76,

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:11
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